Kevin Loves seems to be adapting to his new role with Cavs.
The Cavs seem to be getting the most out of Kevin Love in his new role. We’re only three games in, and Love has a history of causing problems, but right now he seems to be adapting to his new bench role. Either due to him realizing the Cavs may actually be good this year and he wants to contribute or because he’s hoping to raise his value for another team down the line.
Either way, Love seems fully engaged and that’s not always been the case since 2018.
Love’s shooting was rough to start the season, in his first two games, he shot 16.7% and 25% respectively. In game three, however, he shot 43% and even shot 33% from the three-point line. To be clear, he’s not shooting like an All-Star or even a starter. That’s because he’s not. Despite his paycheck, he’s not that kind of player anymore. The injuries took too much from him.
What he is doing, however, is everything else. He’s averaging nearly four assists per game, and is doing it with pinpoint accuracy, passing out of the low post. He’s not turning the ball either, only having two turnovers so far this season. He’s also rebounding exceptionally well, though he’s not always as aggressive as he needs to be, as we saw in game number two against the Hornets, where Love had 11 first-half rebounds and then nothing. He seems to be developing a rhythm with the new schemes and if that keeps going in the right direction, he may be a Sixth Man of the Year candidate.
Kevin Love isn’t the player he once was for the Cavs and that may be ok
It’s clear that Ricky Rubio and Lauri Markkanen are the two guys the Cavs are leaning on at the moment besides Collin Sexton. That used to be Love’s assignment. Yet, Rubio and Markkanen have actually played well for the most part. You’d like to see Markkanen’s shots fall more often but he’s playing good defense and nailing his free throws.
Plus his rebounding against the Hawks was arguably the most aggressive we’ve maybe ever seen him play in his five years in the league. Factor in Evan Mobley‘s versatility and this Cavs team isn’t half bad.
Love needs to really get his shot going if the Cavs are going to compete because they don’t have a lot of depth off the bench with Darius Garland out. That’s going to be a huge factor as well, whether or not Garland takes the next step in his development. Right now Rubio is outplaying Garland and not just in this year, but this version of Rubio is better than the best version of Garland that we’ve seen. If Garland’s shot doesn’t improve this year, then Love’s bench scoring will be even more vital.
With Cedi Osman once again going hot and cold, Love’s consistency may be the key to avoiding those third-quarter collapses. It is still just the third game of the year, and a lot can change in a few weeks.
Who knows, maybe by November Love is back to his old ways and is sent home. Maybe by the end of November, he’s hitting over 40% from three and out-rebounding everyone and taking back a starter’s spot. The future is not predictable. Only expected.
It’s early, and Love has a long season to go to prove he’s all the way locked in. For the sake of the team, let’s hope so.